Consider the Dirichlet series counting discriminants of real quadratic fields. Quadratic field discriminants are "basically" squarefree integers, so the associated Dirichlet series $\sum D^{-s}$ is "basically" $\zeta(s)/\zeta(2s)$. However, there is the funny business at 2, and one derives the formula

$\sum D^{-s} = \frac{1}{2} \big( 4^{-s} - 1 \big) \frac{\zeta(s)}{\zeta(2s)} + \frac{1}{2} \big(1 - 4^{-s} \big) \frac{L(s, \chi_4)}{L(2s, \chi_4)},$

which is a wee bit messy. (This formula, and all the subsequent ones, include 1 as a "quadratic field discriminant" for convenience.)

However, I was reading a fantastic paper by David Wright, where he considers positive and negative discriminants together, in which case you have the much nicer formula

$\sum |D|^{-s} = \big(1 - 2^{-s} + 2 \cdot 4^{-s} \big) \frac{\zeta(s)}{\zeta(2s)}.$

This formula is easy to derive from scratch, but he derives it as a consequence of the beautiful formula

$\sum |D|^{-s} = \prod_p \Big( \frac{1}{2} \sum_{[K_v : \mathbb{Q}_p] \leq 2} |\text{Disc}(K_v)|^s_p \Big).$

He uses the parameterization of quadratic fields by $\mathbb{Q}^{\times} / (\mathbb{Q}^{\times})^2$, which may be thought of as $\text{GL}_1$-orbits on a one-dimensional prehomogeneous vector space, where $\text{GL}_1$ acts by $t(x) = t^2 x$ rather than the usual $t(x) = tx$. He then analyzes these orbits by means of an adelic zeta function; note that with the usual action you recover Tate's thesis.

These formulas generalize quite a bit, with some complications, to $n$th-root extensions of any global field (with some restrictions on the characteristic). They also allow for twisting by characters, allowing (for example) a nice formula for $\sum \text{sgn}(D) |D|^{-s}.$ Note that the first formula considered looks nicer when viewed as a linear combination of $\sum |D|^{-s}$ and $\sum \text{sgn}(D) |D|^{-s}$.

The MathSciNet review says that "similar results, however, can be obtained by class field theory", and this is also hinted at in Wright's paper, but the details aren't worked out. My first question is the following.

**Is there an elegant algebraic proof of the above identity for $\sum |D|^{-s}$ and its generalizations?**

And my second question, which is essentially a vaguer version of the first one, is:

**What is the best way to think of these formulas?**

I quite like the prehomogeneous vector space approach, but I imagine there might be a nice algebraic proof as well, and in particular some kind of ``local-to-global'' principle for quadratic discriminants. I am no expert in class field theory, and I am curious if any of these identities look simple and natural when viewed in the correct light.

Thank you!

field(containing Q_p)? If so then it looks weird, since O_v would normally be used to mean a ring (order), sort of like saying "Let R be a field..." $\endgroup$ – KConrad May 10 '11 at 14:53